Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Judge Mandisa Maya ‘suitable’ for Deputy Chief Justice post, says JSC

President Cyril Ramaphosa will now make the call on whether to appoint the judge.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has recommended the appointment of Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Judge President Mandisa Maya as Deputy Chief Justice.

The JSC on Monday interviewed Maya as the sole candidate for the Deputy Chief Justice position.

Following the conclusion of the interview, the JSC panel decided that Maya was the suitable candidate.

ALSO READ: JSC makes calls for written submissions to scrutinise Justice Maya for DCJ position

Addressing the media on Monday, JSC commissioner Doris Tshepe indicated the commission interviewed Maya as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s consultation process in terms of the Constitution.

“The JSC interviewed her and has since deliberated on the matter. The JSC [has decided] to advise the president that [Justice] Maya is suitable for appointment as the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa,” Tshepe said.

Maya was previously interviewed in February for the Chief Justice position and was recommended by the JSC for the then open slot.

But Ramaphosa announced the appointment of Raymond Zondo as Chief Justice in March.

At the same time, the president announced his intention to nominate Maya as Deputy Chief Justice.

Ramaphosa formalised Maya’s nomination in a letter to the JSC on 7 April, requesting the JSC’s views on her suitability for the position.

READ MORE: JSC interviews: Judge Mandisa Maya says the judiciary is not in crisis

During Monday’s proceedings, Maya was asked by  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema about what she would do regarding leaks in the judiciary.

She responded saying judges were shocked, especially about the recent incident involving suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

“It’s an extremely serious problem” Maya responded, adding that judges needs to put their heads together to prevent these leaks.

Last Friday, the judges and administration staff of the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) were cleared of leaking Mkhwebane’s rescission application, after Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s office indicated earlier this month that an internal investigation was close to completion.

The investigation was related to legal consultant Ismail Abramjee’s leaked SMS that was sent to Parliament’s lawyer, advocate Andrew Breitenbach.

ALSO READ: JSC refrains from explaining why it shortlisted four ConCourt candidates

Maya’s credentials

Maya has been described as a trailblazer in the judiciary due to her impressive track record.

The 58-year-old is regarded as “a woman of firsts” because she was one of the first women judges in the Eastern Cape High Court, the first black woman to be appointed to the SCA, the first woman deputy president of the court, and later, the first woman president of the SCA – a position she’s held since 2017.

If appointed as Deputy Chief Justice, she will be the first woman to hold the position.

Maya received three honorary doctorates and is currently the Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga.